Move over Parti Québécois .. some in Texas, Georgia, South Carolina, Louisiana, etc want to join you

Nov 15th, 2012 | By | Category: In Brief

One technologically democratic feature of the Obama White House website is “We the People …. Your Voice in Our Government.” Here ordinary American citizens can create and/or sign petitions in support of whatever proposals for government action (or inaction) take their fancy.

As a sign of just how upset some people are about the result of the November 6, 2012  election, there are now a host of petitions “demanding the administration ‘grant the State of … [fill in the blank] …  to withdraw from the United States of America and create its own NEW government’” — or some comparable variation on secessionist themes.

The phenomenon has received wider attention in various quarters (HERE, eg, HERE, HERE, and HERE). Yesterday afternoon (ie, Wednesday 14 November 2012, starting around 3:10 PM ET) counterweights gremlins had a quick and dirty stab at tabulating the official statistics on the White House site. (For the raw data click on “Read the rest of this page” and/or scroll below.)

Based on this tabulation, at least some people in every one of the current 50 States of the Union have now started secessionist petitions of this sort. A number of states are even blessed with more than one secessionist petition.

Not surprisingly, perhaps,  the 10 states with the largest number of signatures are all south of the legendary Mason-Dixon line : Texas, Georgia, South Carolina, Louisiana, Florida,  Missouri, Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina, and Oklahoma.

At the same time, there are certain countervailing forces. The one secessionist petition for Texas, eg, already had more than 100,000 signatures yesterday afternoon. But in what some will regard  as the hippest part of the lone star state there was also a petition for the city of Austin “to withdraw from Texas and remain part of the United States.” It had almost 5,000 signatures.

Other more general countervailing petitions have appeared, eg : “Deport Everyone That Signed a Petition to Withdraw Their States from The United States of America” ; “Strip the Citizenship from Everyone who Signed a Petition to Secede and Exile Them” ; and “Force all states to pay their portion of the national debt before they can secede from the union.”

Up here in the northern North American attic of the true north, strong and free, all this is bound to seem vaguely familiar. Our friendly giant American neighbours of course had their Civil War, back in the middle of the 19th century. But we have much more recently had two referendums on the not-exactly-secession of our most beautiful province of Quebec. And we can happily say that, although much remains to be done on this front, Quebec is still with us — at least partly because les Québécois are also the first people who called themselves Canadians.

And who really thinks Texas is really going to secede from the USA in the 21st century?  No matter how much how many Texans today dislike President Obama (who is much more popular in Canada). And when Texas once again has a Spanish-speaking majority (as some demographers say it will, all too soon enough, maybe), well then it will be just like our French-speaking majority in Quebec, and, again, we have already had two referendums, etc, etc, etc …

(And then again, back in the middle of the 19th century, a half-dozen years before the outbreak of the American Civil War, the go-west-young-man New York journalist Horace Greeley wrote to the Canadian rebel firebrand William Lyon Mackenzie: “The time is coming when those states that persist in deifying slavery will secede from the Union and I am for letting them go peacefully … Then I would like to form a union with Canada and have a Great Free Republic, the strongest and truest in the world.” But none of this ever actually happened. And it never will either. It is just a way of trying to do something that most of us still don’t understand.)

Quick and dirty tabulation of State Secession petitions on White House Website’s “We the People …. Your Voice in Our Government,” November 14, 2012, c. 3:10 PM ET

This exercise was conducted in a great hurry, and only done once. While we believe it is tolerably correct, as of the date and time it was undertaken, we are not claiming that it is altogether free of comparatively small errors made in haste.

The notation (2P) or (3P) after a state means that the state in question has two or three petitions as of the date and time the exercise was undertaken. All other states have only one petition. In all cases the number of signatures follows the state name, or the name of the more general petition.

As an indication of just how much things have changed between the time of tabulation yesterday and the time of posting “now” (November 15, 2012, c.4:30 PM ET), the Texas petition “now” has 109,039 signatures, and the City of Austin petition “now” has 7,168 signatures.

For the state of the raw data at the time you may or may not be reading all this CLICK HERE for the relevant part of the White House site.

Texas, 100,018
Georgia, 45,136 (3P)
South Carolina, 34,094 (2P)
Louisiana, 33,566
Florida, 29,778

Missouri, 29,329 (2P)
Tennessee, 27,125
North Carolina, 26,473
Oklahoma, 23,590 (2P)

New York, 20,352 (2P)
Arkansas, 19,715
Arizona, 18,837
Colorado, 18,766
Pennsylvania, 18,064 (2P)

Indiana, 17,816
Michigan, 16,764
Ohio, 16,523 (2P)
Kentucky, 16,149
Mississippi, 15,939

Oregon, 12,892
New Jersey, 12,395
Virginia, 12,026 (3P)
Montana, 11,810
California, 11,281

North Dakota, 10,310
Nevada, 8,757
Alaska, 7,470 (2P)
Wyoming, 7,377
Utah, 6,921

Kansas, 6,761
Illinois, 6,637 (2P)
Delaware, 6,623
West Virginia, 5,964
Nebraska, 5,649

South Dakota, 5,137
Utah, 5,250
Wisconsin, 4,814
Idaho, 4,299
New Hampshire, 3,941

Minnesota, 3,505
Rhode Island, 3,415
New Mexico, 3,227
Washington, 2,544 (2P)
Iowa, 2,264

Maine, 2,210
Hawaii, 1,343
Massachusetts, 1,275
Maryland, 515
Connecticut, 329

* “Deport Everyone That Signed a Petition to Withdraw Their States from The United States of America,” 16,244

* “Strip the Citizenship from Everyone who Signed a Petition to Secede and Exile Them,” 9,968

* Peacefully allow the states that have asked to secede to form their own new nation together, 6,196

* City of Austin, Texas to withdraw from Texas and remain part of the United States, 4,949

*Force all states to pay their portion of the national debt before they can secede from the union, 2,663

* Keep the United States United, 1,851

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